The Associated Press, the news organization who owns the image that artist Shepard Fairey openly admits to using as the basis for his iconic Pop Art Obama “Hope” image, is now looking for a piece of the profits reaped by Fairey, and isn’t trying to be friendly about it:
Designed by Shepard Fairey, a Los-Angeles based street artist, the image has led to sales of hundreds of thousands of posters and stickers, and has become so much in demand that copies signed by Fairey have been purchased for thousands of dollars on eBay.
The image, Fairey has acknowledged, is based on an Associated Press photograph, taken in April 2006 by Mannie Garcia on assignment for the AP at the National Press Club in Washington.
The AP says it owns the copyright, and wants credit and compensation. Fairey disagrees.
“The Associated Press has determined that the photograph used in the poster is an AP photo and that its use required permission,” the AP’s director of media relations, Paul Colford, said in a statement. “AP safeguards its assets and looks at these events on a case-by-case basis. We have reached out to Mr. Fairey’s attorney and are in discussions. We hope for an amicable solution.”
The real kicker, of course, is that either way Mannie Garcia, who actually took the photo in the first place probably gets jack shit either way. But I guess taking photos isn’t that “hard” or at least that’s what people will tell you any time you try to actually get paid for taking them. Then again, neither is taking a photo into Photoshop and making it look like a painting then printing up a zillions copies of it and putting the logo of your clothing company on it. But hey, what is art? Are we art? Is art art? And besides, who am I to talk? I just ripped off the above image from the San Francisco Chronicle site, an image that took some web designers literally tens of seconds to create. The internet, man. It ruins everything.